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Monmouth Leadership Hold Meeting to Support International Students

January 30, 2017

Nearly 20 students whose student visa statuses are up in the air met with Monmouth College officials Monday evening to discuss what action the school will take in response to recent federal actions. Over the weekend, President Donald Trump signed executive orders that banned citizens from seven countries from entering the United States, thus stranding hundreds and leaving the legal status of many in question, including the Monmouth students.

In response to the actions on Friday, Dean of Faculty David Timmerman and Dean of Students Mohsin Masood held a meeting to brief and answer questions from students. The meeting began with Timmerman emphasizing the “love and support the college feels for our students.” Timmerman made it clear that although the future is unknown, they are preparing by consulting with the colleges attorneys to protect the students who would be affected by the travel ban.

Masood continued the meeting by advising students not to travel outside of the United States for the time being and announced that the college will offer accommodations at no charge over breaks to students who are effected by the executive orders. He also stated that the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) laws protect students and their privacy from the federal government. Finally, Timmerman and Masood gave information relating to different programs that would keep students in the United States legally, such as graduate school and the Optional Practical Training program.

The tone of the meeting emphasized the support that the college and nation has for the students, even during this time of uncertainty. When discussing how the American people feel about the situation, Timmerman stated that “the instantaneous protests at airports across the country say a lot about the American people.”

After finishing their statements, Timmerman and Masood answered questions from the assembled students. One of the issues highlighted during the discussion was the fact that Syrian men generally receive shorter visas than women due to the country wanting them back for military service. One student stated that they were “very thankful that no one from the college was outside of the country” when the ban began. After the meeting, senior Malak Atassi stated that the meeting made her “feel safe and welcomed at Monmouth” and that she “really appreciates the huge support.”

Stay tuned to The Courier for developments on this situation over the next few weeks.

Jacob Marx
Political Columnist

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